First drive: Alfa Romeo Brera S

* UK-tuned Brera tested * Revised suspension * Unique interior...

First drive: Alfa Romeo Brera S

Like many an F1 and rally team before it, Alfa Romeo has turned to a bunch of Brits to sort its cars out.

Warwick-based chassis guru Prodrive has been given the job of transforming the impossibly pretty, but rather stodgy, Brera into a proper sports car.

The first thing to go was the standard soggy suspension - replaced with springs almost 50% stiffer and special gas-filled shock absorbers - to help reduce body roll and pitch.

In the process, S versions of the Brera have been lowered by 10mm, and fitted with bespoke 19-inch alloys wheels, hollow anti-roll bars and some aluminium suspension components.

All this has dropped the weight of the 2.2-litre model by 35kg and added 1450 to the price, but it's certainly given the car a more alert feel.

We're still not talking Audi TT levels of finesse and agility, but there's more grip and less kickback through the steering over mid-corner bumps, even if the ride is still a bit on the crashy side.

Inside, a chunky steering wheel, stubby gearlever, drilled aluminium pedals and sports seats with aluminium 'S' plates pinned into the headrests give the Brera a premium feel.

Taller drivers and rear passengers will still feel the pinch, however, because front headroom is tighter than a submariner's bunk and rear legroom is minuscule.

The S also gets a bespoke exhaust silencer to beef up the aural delights. Yes, the 256bhp 3.2 V6 sounds like a demon unleashed, but the rather flat 182bhp 2.2-litre engine doesn't sound a patch on the raspy twin-spark engines in Alfas of old.

• The Brera S is on sale now, costing from £24,950 to £28,450.